Here’s a review of My Way (2011) by Eddie of Sidekickreviews for this month’s Genre Grandeur War.
Check out his site for some great tv and movie analyses.
Tomorrow is the deadline for anyone who still wants to send me their reviews, so you have some time left. Just send me the review to firstname.lastname@example.org
Next month’s genre is space movies, so send me your reviews by 25th of September. Thanks again to Tom of Digital Shortbread for choosing the next genre.
Let’s see what Eddie thought of My Way (2011)
My Way (2011)
Number Of Times Seen: 1 (Aug 23, 2014)
Director: Kang Je-gyu
Starring: Jang Dong-Gun, Joe Odagiri, Fan Bingbing
My Way is a hard-hitting, action packed South Korean war film with an inspiring, hopeful message. Based on actual events, the movie’s opening text provides the background and historical context:
An Asian man wearing a German uniform was discovered by the U.S. military at Normandy on D-Day. Upon questioning, he was later identified as a Korean.
Korea was under Japanese occupation during World War II and many Koreans were forced into the Japanese army and sent to the frontlines against China and the Soviet Union.
The story is epic in every sense of the word. If it wasn’t inspired by actual events it would be too far-fetched to be believable. My Way is about the rivalry and unlikely friendship between two marathon runners: a Korean man named Kim Jun-shik and a Japanese man named Hasegawa Tatsuo, who becomes a colonel in the Imperial Japanese Army. Their incredible journey spans several military battles across the globe and fighting in a number of different armies. At the heart of the story is an aspirational message of putting aside grievous differences and learning to value one another. Considering the complicated history between Japanese-Korean relations, the message is particularly powerful.
Three different actors play each of the two lead characters as children, teenagers and adults. Jang Dong-Gun plays a grown up Jun-shik. Jun-shik’s values are constantly tested. He’s the moral compass of the movie while many of his comrades lose their humanity due to the hardships of war. Tatsuo played by Joe Odagiri has a more dynamic character arc. From a traumatic childhood event, we understand Tatsuo’s anger and his singled minded determination. It’s a classic story of how an otherwise good-hearted person can do horrific things in a time of war. Actors Jang Dong-Gun and Joe Odagiri get the job done, though neither performances stand out above the other.
It’s a delicate balance to interweave the different tones of the movie. A lot of the time, My Way is visceral and darkly despairing. By the end, it manages to be sweetly hopeful with a strong sense of humanity despite all the bloodshed. My Way also captures the brutality of war both graphically and violently. Even having watched Saving Private Ryan and other realistic war movies, it’s still pretty shocking to see all those young lives get wiped out in an instance.
In terms of the visuals and action set pieces, My Way is on par with many Hollywood blockbusters. The CGI is consistently clean and polished. My Way doesn’t skimp on fist fights, fiery explosions or bone crushing battle tanks either. There’s more than enough action here to keep most movie buffs thoroughly entertained.
Directed by Kang Je-gyu, My Way offers a unique point of view narrative, particularly for those who have primarily watched American-centric war movies. A harrowing war film about racism, redemption, rivalry and ultimately friendship, My Way is worth a look on Netflix.